Facebook and Skype will be partnering up to provide a video chat service for the popular social network.
The two companies made the joint announcement from Facebook's Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters. Mark Zuckerberg, the famous chief executive of Facebook, said the new video call service will be built right into its current chat feature. All users have to do is click the video option on the chat window and it will connect automatically. The company said it will be available to all users within a few weeks, but it is available now through a download.
During the introduction, Zuckerberg and Skype chief executive Tony Bates talked about the new service at length. Most users have a plug-in available for video chat. However, if they do not, they will get a pop up to download it. The two tech companies said more features like mobile video chatting will come but for now it is just available on the desktop and on a one-on-one basis.
The service will be free according to Zuckerberg. He said the company maintains a great relationship with Microsoft, which recently bought Skype. Bates said Skype wanted to become as broadly available as possible, and by teaming with Facebook and its 700 million users, it has done just that.
Facebook also made a few minor announcements including an improvement to the group chat function. Users will now be able to chat with others in their group instantly.
Also, while making the announcement, Zuckerberg seemed to take a shot at Facebook's new found rival in social networking, Google. Last week, Google introduced Google+, a Facebook type social network that focuses on inner circles of friends rather than everyone. Zuckerberg made a vague reference to the fact Google does a lot of its application development in house.
We want to leave all the applications to independent entrepreneurs and companies that are going to be best in class at building these things. That's a different strategy than other major Internet companies out there who try to do everything themselves, Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg did directly address Google's new social networking service later on in a question and answer service. He said the service is a validation how things will play out over the next five years as people try to connect through social apps.
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